The playground will open officially soon, another major step in the completion of a community dream.
The 5-acre North Buckhead park at Peachtree-Dunwoody Road near Peachtree Road, sits on land once planned for eight McMansions. When that development fell through, the community beginning in 2007 was able to acquire the land through Park Pride and District 7 Councilman Howard Shook. Conceived by North Buckhead Civic Association President Gordon Certain, the park is also supported by the adjoining Brookhaven neighborhood.
The playground on the scenic plot beside the park's namesake creek will officially open April 21.
"For the first time, you're going to see the real benefits of the park," said Friends of Little Nancy Creek Co-President Joe Cronk, who gave a tour of the property on a recent morning along with fellow Co-President Mark Stovin.
Stovin said in a follow-up e-mail that although the installation's officiai opening won't be for another month, "kids have found the playground," and are already enjoying it.
"This will be something for the community to enjoy for generations," Stovin said during the tour of the park. Along with the playground, the park offers walking paths through towering trees and beside the creek. uses the site as an outdoor classrom.
The park is a showpiece of community cooperation. The Friends of Little Nancy Creek Park have raised around $360,000 for the first phase of the work. Brookhaven and North Buckhead residents have devoted long hours clearing invasive-species plants and getting the playground in shape. The city's parks department maintains the land. Eagle Scouts from St. James United Methodist Church built a bridge. Bank of America employees on April 14 will have a work day.
Cronk gives credit to the playground committee's Gordon Anderson and Mandy LeCompte. "Without their leadership, this playground probably would not have been built," Cronk said. "They really stepped up and made it happen."
Now, the organization is raising funds for the park's second phase, which will include walking trails and a bridge across Little Nancy Creek at the far end of the property, whch mainly lies upon a flood plain.
A major priority is improving access. The park has a small parking lot, and those parking on Winall Down Road and Stovall Boulevard across Peachtree-Dunwoody must navigate the busy road. Cronk and Stovin said they're working with Shook on a plan to add sidewalks, a crosswalk and a light at Peachtree-Dunwoody.
Stovin said that city engineers recently evaluated the needs for safe access to the park and that Shook had identified funding sources. "In-house and outside sources are being consulted to determine the fastest possible installation of the recommended elements (pedestrian-activated signal, crosswalk, ADA compliant curbing, signage)," Stovin said. "We hope to see some interim measures installed shortly."
For the future, Stovin envisions community walking trails providing entry as part of Livable Buckhead's project to increase green space in Shook's district.
The property's residential history is marked with an old fireplace. With its natural landscape and state-of-the art playscape, the park will now give Buckhead and Brookhaven a community oasis.